post 2554

Famous Welsh poem: Rhyfel (“War”) by Hedd Wyn. This poem, written on the Western Front in 1917, won him the Eisteddfod chair. By the time of the competition he had been killed at Passchendaele. Born and raised near Trawsfynydd, he was a young farmer, one of two brothers and a committed pacifist. When he found out that either he or his younger brother would have to fight, though, he immediately volunteered to save his brother. A film’s been made about him.

Gwae fi fy myw mewn oes mor ddreng,
A Duw ar drai ar orwel pell;
O’i ol mae dyn, yn deyrn a gwreng,
Yn codi ei awdurdod hell.
Pan deimlodd fyned ymaith Dduw
Cyfododd gledd i ladd ei frawd;
Mae swn yr ymladd ar ein clyw,
A’i gysgod ar fythynnod tlawd.
Mae’r hen delynau genid gynt
Ynghrog ar gangau’r helyg draw,
A gwaedd y bechgyn lond y gwynt,
A’u gwaed yn cymysg efo’r glaw.

My translation:

Woeful I am to live in such a harsh age,
With God ebbing on the far horizon;
Behind Him is man, both lord and commoner,
Raising up his brutal authority.
When he felt God disappear
He lifted up his sword to kill his brother;
The sound of battle is in our ears,
And its shadow on the poor cottages.
The harps that once were played
Are hanging on the branches of those willows.
The wind is full of the screams of the boys
And their blood mixes with the rain.

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